Previously, the only function coins seemed to serve was in granting 1-Ups after 100 are collected. But since 1-Ups are given out like candy in recent Marios, there really isn't much incentive aside from the compulsive need to collect.
First thing Nintendo appears to have done was get rid of the lives system entirely. FINALLY! In exchange, the coin counter has expanded to four digits, meaning you will literally be showering in gold by the end of a single level.
Aside from the coins scattered throughout the level and inside bricks, there many other sources of dollar dollar bills, yo. There are roulette blocks that cycle through coin values, and you must time your hit for big money. Collecting eight red coins will give you a gold mushroom that yields a big payout. Jumping into the flagpole at the end of the level will give you a coin multiplier depending on where you land on the pole.
There's more! Golden enemies will leave trails of coins in their wake, and killing them will produce more coins. By snatching a golden Fire Flower, you can shoot golden fireballs that turn bricks into coins. By the end of the demo's three levels, I was able to collect nearly 3000 coins. Insane.
Why the increased focus on coin collecting? The demo offers no clues. Will you be able to unlock alternate routes on the map? Will you buy items at a shop with them? Your guess is as good as mine.
I wasn't able to try out co-op mode, but I suppose there isn't that much longer to wait until the game's release on August 19. Guess I'll find out more then
Oh, by the way... the boss of the demo castle? Reznor from Super Mario World. Nice.
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